Shillong: The stalled talks between Meghalaya and Assam over the inter-state border disputes will resume next month-end or in the first week of May, officials said here on Wednesday.
The talks suffered a setback since the firing incident of November 22 last year, which left six persons, including five Meghalaya villagers, dead.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma is in regular touch with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma to expedite the border talks and resolve the disputes at the earliest.
The six areas of Meghalaya to be taken up for discussion in the second phase of talks include Langpih in West Khasi Hills, Borduar, Nongwah-Mawtamur, Desh Doomreah and Block-II in Ri-Bhoi district and Block-I and Psiar-Khanduli in West Jaintia Hills district.
Last week, the Meghalaya government had reconstituted three regional committees headed by ministers to examine the present status of the remaining six disputed areas with Assam in the state’s West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, and West Jaintia Hills districts.
Officials said that the committees would submit their reports to the Meghalaya government within 45 days after visiting the border villages and studying the differences based on the agreed yardsticks of historical perspective, ethnicity of the local population, administrative convenience of local people, contiguity with the boundary, and the perception of the people living in the area.
Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh, and Urban Affairs Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar would head the three different district committees.
The ruling National People’s Party (NPP) and its ally BJP, in their election manifestos for the February 27 Meghalaya polls, had promised to solve the border disputes with Assam and establish permanent outposts to promote safety, security and rule of law.
The Supreme Court had put on hold the Meghalaya High Court’s order staying the MoU signed by the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya on the border disputes.
In December last year, the high court while hearing a petition filed by four citizens of Meghalaya had passed an order staying physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the ground, pursuant to the MoU signed on March 29 last year.
The MoU was signed by Sangma and his Assam counterpart in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, “resolving” six of the 12 disputed areas in the first phase.